"The ideal gun shop"


July 14, 2003, 12:53 AM
Hello everyone,

A friend and I were talking today about local gun stores comparing their good and bad points and discussing what we think would be the ideal gun shop. Here goes:

1. Professional and courteous sales people that understand the meaning of customer service; in other words really appreciating the fact that you are a customer.

2. Sales people that provide accurate and sensible information regarding choices in gun types, selection of ammo etc. We all have opinions, as so obviously and rightfully expressed on forums such as this, regarding these topics but in our opinion a sale person should be able to explain the differences and virtues of one gun vs. another without sounding like a gun guru or worse yet providing misleading information. I shudder at some of the things I've heard sales people say to gun novices in search of their first firearm. By the same token I know several good sales people that do exemplify these traits.

3. Competitive pricing; I guess this goes without saying.

4. A store that specializes in certain aspects of firearms so they can provide a wide array gun types and accessories for that niche. For example: with the increased use of concealed carry handguns, I would like to see a store that specialized in that aspect, providing the customer with off the shelf holsters and other rigs for this purpose so you could see how well they are actually going to work for you. It seems today that with the almost countless choices in handguns and other firearms related merchandise it is quite understandable why one shop can't be everything to everybody. When I began shooting about 20 years ago I remember walking into my neighborhood gun store and looking for my first centerfire semi-auto which at that time basically meant a .380, 9mm or .45 and the choices in makes and models was limited as well. Long story short, I walked out with a beautiful Browning Hi-Power which I still own today :D , but you get the picture.

Well, as Porky Pig use to say "that's all folks". What are your thoughts on this subject? Regards, Mike

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Parker Dean
July 14, 2003, 01:13 AM
It's obviously impossible. If it weren't it would've been done already and duplicated ad nauseum. :)

July 14, 2003, 12:52 PM
The perfect gun store would be staffed by members of the Swedish Bikini Team.

They'd have an excellent inventory of 38s, and 44s.

July 14, 2003, 01:15 PM
Along with the above points.... I'd like a store that has a huge variety of guns, with plenty in stock and one of each kind that they keep separate just for renting on their indoor range. If you end up buying the same kind of gun you rented, the rental price goes into your purchase.

Since there would have to be a massive investment for the shop to keep a gun of every kind on hand for rent, this will probably always be just a dream store.

July 14, 2003, 08:32 PM
How about one with a "buy one, get one free" sale?:)

Standing Wolf
July 14, 2003, 08:53 PM
I like gun shops with gunsmiths in back rooms. They're few and far between.

July 14, 2003, 09:27 PM
I'm with Standing Wolf on this one ..... in the good ol days you could find places where either the owner, or an employee - was a smith ..... so all work was done on premises and you could discuss the finer points of engineering, on the spot!

It was less about ''sales'' per se .. it was all about giving a service ..... a great thing that is lacking too much.

July 15, 2003, 09:49 AM

I live about thirteen miles from a shop that a dad and son own and operate. Both are smiths. It is a good shop and both of these guys are knowledgeable and helpful. The sales tax there was 5% that last time that I made a purchase, too!

Sean Smith
July 15, 2003, 10:52 AM
Fewer idiots.

George Hill
July 15, 2003, 11:08 AM
1. People that know what they are talking about, but are not arrogant snots.
2. Huge selection of guns, including evil black types large and small.
3. Indoor range for pistol and rifle.
4. Good selection of accessories, supplies, and all the sundry goodies.
5. Onsite training classes for safety, CCW, and more advanced classes too.
6. Special events.
7. Good prices.

Now, to these above items.............

1. A well stocked discount bookstore that has rare and hard to find books.
2. A good cafe with real food. Not the foo foo food they have a B&N... but real food. Like venison stew, steaks, chili, burgers... all manner of red meat and game bird dishes. Nugent's Kitchen. Then have some good stuff with that... salads and baked stuff...
3. Lots of tables to sit and eat at. Between the books, food, and guns... Big overstuffed leather chairs. Burbon, coffee, cigars, etc... where you can just sit and talk and read a paper. Attendants there to refill your cup or what not. Old Gentlemen Club kinda place.
4. Open 24 hours.

July 15, 2003, 12:32 PM
5. respect (for lack of a better word) for the female shooters.
when a woman walks up to the counter and asks for some ammunition, she should not get the response " YOU shoot guns? :what: ". don't assign us names such as "Little Lady". don't point us directly to the revolvers because "Women are too weak to rack a slide" or "Semi-autos are too complicated for a woman".



H Romberg
July 15, 2003, 12:40 PM
A US Army Company arms room. You walk up to the window, they hand you a rifle, machine gun, pistol, or grenade launcher. You sign, and walk away. Those were the days.:D

Carlos Cabeza
July 15, 2003, 01:50 PM
Ogre, you should open a chain of those shops ! I could appreciate that.

Marko Kloos
July 15, 2003, 04:48 PM
I've been planning my own shop for years now: it will be called "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms".

It will be a bar combined with a full range and a cigar store/walk-in humidor. Smoking will be permitted everywhere. The bar will be made of solid tropical wood. The bar stools will be covered with baby seal fur, and the peanut buckets will be elephant feet. The rental guns will all have genuine elephant ivory grip panels. The bar will have a lunch menu consisting of nothing but endangered and/or exotic species. The walk-in humidor will be stocked with illegally imported Cuban cigars.

The range will feature indoor and outdoor stations from 7 to 1,000 yards. Full-auto fire and tracers will be expressly permitted.

It will be the most Politically Incorrect establishment in the country, and shooters from four states away will flock to it. Liberals will hate it, tree huggers will picket it, and PETA types will have heart attacks when they see it.

Larry Ashcraft
July 15, 2003, 06:13 PM
Try Denver .45 in Aurora (I hope their still open). The husband is a smith and usually works in the back. The wife works the counter. She keeps a separate part of the store for her candles and cards and such, also a settee and TV for the wives that don't want to shop for guns.

Nice store, nice people, but pretty new. I hope they make it.

July 15, 2003, 08:09 PM
I'm with PawDaddy on this one.;)

July 15, 2003, 08:53 PM
i like george hills idea myself!

July 15, 2003, 09:52 PM
I like Marko's idea...the more unPC the better...like the name too.:D

July 15, 2003, 10:17 PM
hey larry,
i've actually been out to Denver .45. i remember getting lost on the way there. it's really, really far from where i live. although my favorite gun store isn't exactly close to me either. it is close to my parents though. convenient that. :D


July 16, 2003, 07:47 AM
Try Franklin's of Athens. Great selection, and they will order anything you like, if you can't find just the one you're looking for. The staff is very knowledgeable, but if you do manage to stump one of them, they don't just make something up...they go ask someone else, which I think is the true measure of intelligence -- knowing when you don't know. Once a year, they have a "Customer Appreciation" sale, where they sell any gun in the store at their cost. If you need any repairs or modifications, there is a gun smith in the back.

The only thing they don't have is an indoor range. You have to drive around the corner to the Firing Lane for that.

July 16, 2003, 11:46 AM
My former favorite gun shop (now closed due to death of the owner) had a coupla chairs, etc., for comfy relaxing and chatting. And an ash tray next to 'em. Which the guy's kids would occasionally spike with a small amount of powder. You could tell the regulars - they wouldn't even twitch.

George Hill
July 16, 2003, 12:53 PM
Marko's idea is great. The more it pisses people off the better.

I'd love to see the business liscense application. Write it all out in detail and see if your local city officials will sign off on it.

July 16, 2003, 01:05 PM
I always wanted to shop at the Weapon Shop of Isher. Great guns, great customer service, and help righting the wrongs of the world. What more could you want?


The right to own weapons is the right to be free. -- A. E. Van Vogt

July 16, 2003, 01:18 PM
hey ogre if you start that can my VA business loan get me a partnership:D

me id like a gun store with an Unbiased opinion...........

me: say im looking for a CCW weapon in .40......
GS: how bout this Colt Commander in .45
me: no im not into .45s or 1911....more of a S&W DA kinda guy.....
GS: ohhhhhh well why dont you check the pawn shops there probably more you price.

or another time.

me: hey can you get me a keltec sub rifle in a .40!!!
GS: ???WHY??? its a POS. try this Ruger Carbine in 9mm an 40.
me: pos huh......well im looking for the collapsable port around kinda rifle.....
GS: oh well i dont stock the Kel-tecs cuz there crap. now this lever action in 44mag.......yada yada yada
me: well theres a gun show next week have a good day.

what i would like to see! (hang on a Willyjixx fantasy comin on)

is a Mall. like your large deparment store/walk around for hours size mall. 2 levels a food court an instead of Macys an JC pennys there are ranges. each of the little stores in the mall is every maker of weapons, knives, holsters, cases, gadgets gidgets an widgets. a central computer system for background checks an no mall ninjas cuz open carry is enouraged!
hunting stuff, tactical stuff, cowboy action. all of it. an special guest every sunday. be it an NRA preaching, the latest hottest Shooter sportin his tips an tricks, or even Manufacture Presidents or CEOs there to ask the public what they want! an i want 4 in each state! also a consignment store an a state to state transfer store!

hows that sound

September 20, 2003, 05:17 PM
Try Franklin's of Athens. Great selection, and they will order anything you like, if you can't find just the one you're looking for.

I worked the gun counter there for five years (extended college plan). My home away from home. Don't have to order anything; anything you could possibly want is somewhere in the building.

September 20, 2003, 05:42 PM
30 plus years ago when I was stationed outside Warrenton, Virginia there was located there the best gunshop I have ever see. It had a large outside range for pistol and rifle (free use) and hundreds of used and new guns to choose from. At any one time their were 5 clerks on duty plus a gunsmith and they were kept busy. If they didn't have a used gun you wanted they would put your request on a waiting list and within a couple of weeks(or less) someone would trade it in. You could even state the condition you wanted and they told you in advance how much it would cost. If you changed your mind, no hard feelings, someone else would be standing behind you to buy it. The name of the place was/is Clark Brothers. Anyone living in that area know about this place?

September 20, 2003, 07:48 PM
an i want 4 in each state! also a consignment store an a state to state transfer store!

hows that sound
Hey, if you're gonna dream, dream big--it costs just as much :D

Something I always wanted to see was a place where if you purchase a gun of any sort, they give you 100rds free or something like that. Extra mags. Hell, there probably is... I'm just missing out :uhoh:

September 20, 2003, 11:50 PM
The closest one to perfect I've ever been to was in California, about 10-13 years ago. (Before all the B.S.) B & B sales in Westminster CA, near Huntington Beach. I have no idea if it's still there or not. They had 2 stores, and one of them was where the cops went for more firepower (AR-15's) when those guys with full-auto AK's and bulletproof vests robbed the bank in L.A.

Anyway, the store was HUGE! Forklift pallets of ammo for sale and over 20 sales people working the floor. You actually had to take a number to get service, but never took more than a few minutes. The prices were outstanding. At the time it was a 2 hour drive for me, but I did it many times.

They had their handguns in normal display cases, and they had one of each model under glass. At the time they didn't carry a couple of brands like "Star" for example. But in every other brand they had one of each model. They had guns like Wildey's, Desert Eagles, Freedom Arms .454's, in the dozens or half dozens. I don't think I've ever seen more than one Wildey for sale at a time anywhere else since then. The most amazing thing? The guns under the glass were all display models!!!! My buddy bought an HK SP-89. The let him see the one under glass, and when said "I'll take it" they put that one back and got an unopened one and filled out the paperwork. Same thing with my Springfield 1911 that I bought for $339 in 1992. At the time the best price I could find for the SA was $479.

So, I guess my ideal gunshop would be similar to the above, with a complete shooting range, and you would be able to rent any gun you wanted, not just a select few. And, have holsters from some of the custom makers available instead of a little wall with 6 year old "Uncle Mikes" generic fit-all holsters.

September 21, 2003, 04:08 PM
One with counter help that doesnt disrespect my political leanings. Ozark Armory 2 has one crazy guy that I just cant stand to be around for more than 5 minutes. Loud, obnoxious, very dogmatic, and politically somewhere to the right of Hitler. He insists that people who dont vote directly Republican party line are wasting their vote and letting the terrorists win.:cuss: :fire: :scrutiny:

One that doesnt feed me crap about "You cant handle pistols when you are under 21." Last time I checked, the only thing I couldnt do was buy one.

I always feel like I am being watched and scrutinized for some reason in my local gunshop.

Marko: Marko, that would be great. Even my mom would come there, but you might consider making the gun-sales floor no-smoking. Some people have a hard time breathing.*

George: I love it. In my area I am afraid it would go out of business unless you had a crapload of advertising. :(

* My city passed an ordinance for restaruants to do that. I am only advocating the voluntary, not the .gov mandate.:)

September 22, 2003, 01:01 PM
I don't get up that way too often anymore, but I just dug this up from the UVA Cavalier Daily compliments of Google...

"Route 29 also offers the best in efficient, one-stop shopping. If Junior Joe Bob is about to turn the big one-oh, pop into Clark Bros. for a squirrel-'n'-opossum shotgun. While there, you can pick up a few pounds of night crawlers, and maybe a canoe or two. Hey, the sign does say "Guns, Fireworks, Canoes and Live Bait." Clark Bros. serves your everyday country-living needs."

I suppose they still have the range out back and all those large caliber, not for sale, military arms up on the walls.


Black Snowman
September 22, 2003, 01:31 PM
The ideal gunshop is the one I make money off of ;)

Brian Dale
September 23, 2003, 12:41 PM
You're gonna have me driving to Knoxv'l all the time.

It'll be worth it.

September 23, 2003, 08:50 PM
Ya'll have to check out the Bullet Trap in PLano, Texas.

It has all the features you want in a store, check it out!


September 23, 2003, 09:58 PM
Here in DFW, they are closing a shopping mall near Six Flags over Texas. In my fantasy world where I have an unlimited amount of money, I'd purchase it and turn it into the largest shooting store the world has ever seen. Each cornerstone store would become different types of ranges... Cowboy Action, Tactical, Trap and Skeet, Long Range, etc.. I'd have every rental gun imaginable. Each of the small shops in the body of the mall would become small, specialized shops that cater to specific crowds. There would be a Milsurp store, a Black Rifle Store, a 1911 store, a Class III store, a hunter's store, a Tac Gear store called "Skunk's":D... the possiblities are endless. I'd have the best prices in town, hire a bunch of old farts that know everything, young guys that are eager to help, girls that are easy on the eyes, and cater to everyone under the sun. It'll have a food court, too. One of the food places could specialize in big game, another in fowl, another one in good ole' american cheeseburgers...

I haven't decided what to name it yet, but I'll worry about that after I get the endless supply of money. :rolleyes:

Abominable No-Man
September 24, 2003, 12:06 AM
I like Marko's idea. Sounds great, except I would like to see it with free coffee 24 hrs a day and a bunkroom in the back:cool: :D . Oh, yeah, and a sign that specifically encouraged loitering inside....

'Course, I'd never be at home and would probably end up divorced....


Abominable No-Man
September 24, 2003, 12:09 AM
One thing I forgot to mention....I would like it to have REAL coffee, you know "Coffee-flavored coffee!" And doughnuts, too. (Ever listened to that piece by Denis Leary? It was hilarious!)


September 24, 2003, 01:10 AM

FYI, all B&B stores closed down a few years ago. In fact, over half of the gun shops I know of in Socal have closed down over the past few years. Sad state of affairs here.

Missouri Mule
September 24, 2003, 01:23 PM
My idea of an ideal gun store .....

#1 is willing to sell me what I ask for...
#2 answers my question in a non condesending manner....
#3 doesn't insult me by making absurd offers on my potential trade in on one of their over infated new prices.

if it was "gold" when I bought it new, it is still gold if I trade it back in.

For me it is all about respect!

Don't respect me you will not get my dollars!

That really is all I ask of the local gun stores, and is also why I buy elsewhere.

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